The only proof you have that you actually played a certain lottery game for a certain date and are the rightful winner of any prize on that draw is the actual lottery ticket you have purchased.
Although playing a lottery is not an investment of your money, the ticket that you receive is.
Without your ticket, you won’t be able to collect on any amount that it wins, large or small.
Anything from a free ticket to the top award is only as good as the physical “proof of purchase and possession” that your ticket legally affords.
So protecting your lottery ticket, before and after the draw, is of extremely high importance to ensure that only you will be able to rightfully claim any winning prize due to you.
The very first thing you should do, if not immediately after purchasing the ticket, then as soon as possible afterward, is to sign the front and/or back of the ticket.
Signing your ticket legally proves that it belongs to you. If you delay or neglect to sign your ticket, and it becomes lost or stolen, then anyone who signs it is the legal owner of the ticket.
You will receive nothing, and they will get your winnings. And it doesn’t matter if you have family or friends or video surveillance that attests to you buying the ticket.
If it’s not your signature on the ticket, you have no legal claim to the money.
Remember that in most jurisdictions, the operator is not liable for any lost or stolen tickets, so if the presenter has their signature on the ticket and produces ID to support that signature, they get the prize.
So the best course of action to protect your ticket is to sign it as soon as possible and to scan, copy, and /or take pictures of both the front and the back of the ticket.
Although you will need the actual ticket to claim a prize, a copy of both sides of the ticket could give you some legal standing if the ticket is lost, stolen, damaged/destroyed, or presented by someone else.
It at least shows you had a ticket that matched the winning numbers and has your signature on it.
Only the original ticket can be presented for payment.
As such, securing and storing a purchased or winning ticket is not something to be taken lightly.
If you do have a winning ticket of a larger prize, you are probably not going to cash it in right away and you will need some time to arrange travel to the main lottery office to present your ticket for validation.
Until you are ready to make that trip, the ticket needs to be kept in a safe and secure location.
The best place to store a purchased or winning ticket is in a safety deposit box at the bank.
Since you will be the only one to have access to that box, the ticket will remain safe and secure until you need to retrieve it.
A home safe or lockbox would be the next best option as long as you are the only one with the combination or key.
Hiding the ticket inside a book, deep in the fridge or freezer, in a can of coffee or tea, behind a picture, or anywhere else most people would not think to look, is good, but certainly not one of the best options.
Also make note that your ticket must be presented in an undamaged and unmarked condition.
It cannot be torn, defaced, disfigured, mutilated, smudged, or damaged in any way whatsoever.
So don’t even circle any numbers you match to the draw. Do that on a separate sheet of paper.
Any of these conditions could result in your ticket being declared ineligible for the draw and you could miss out on a lot of money. Keep it away from moisture, dirt, children, animals, and anything else that might cause damage to the ticket.
Your lottery ticket could be the gateway to retirement, luxury, becoming debt-free, and living a very fulfilled life.
Don’t let the act of a ticket issue prevent that from occurring for you.
Before and after the draw, keep your ticket safe, unscathed, and looking like new.
This way, when you present it for validation, there will no problem in paying you your lucky winnings.